[Rendering on the plywood on 14th Street]
As we first reported last May, reps for the new development at 432-438 E. 14th St. are lobbying to receive a zoning variance for a 12-story building — four more floors than the area's zoning allows.
Last summer, Community Board 3's Land Use, Zoning, Public & Private Housing Committee issued a denial to the developers (Benenson Capital Partners in association with the Mack Real Estate Group).
They'll make their case tomorrow afternoon before the city's Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) to allow their planned development to be more than 50 percent taller than the zoning for the site allows. (Community Boards only have an advisory vote.)
Per previous reports, the site of the former Peter Stuyvesant Post Office between Avenue A and First Avenue "is burdened by a combination of unique conditions that result in practical difficulties in complying with the applicable zoning regulations." (Groundwater has been an issue at other nearby development sites, such as 500 and 524 E. 14th St. Those developers did not seek a variance.)
Crews have been in the pit in recent months dewatering the foundation...
There is opposition to the expanded building from CB3 members, residents and community groups. Here's a statement via the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation:
Like local Community Board #3 and many residents, GVSHP opposes the proposal for the building as woefully out of context for this East Village site. We also believe that the arguments for the variance, claiming a “hardship” based upon “unique circumstances,” are bogus, and would open the floodgates to a slew of oversized developments on sites throughout our neighborhoods with similar conditions.
GVSHP reps will be attending the meeting, and have distributed flyers with information about the hearing (find more details here)...
The current approved plans show an 8-story building with 114 residences (23 affordable, 91 market rate) and ground-floor retail. The 12-story version would feature 155 units, with 31 marked as "affordable." The residential entrance to the building will be on East 13th Street... while access to the storefronts will be on East 14th Street.
According to public records, the developers paid the powerful lobbying group Kasirer $80,000 last year to work on their behalf with city officials...
[Click for detail]
[Click for detail]
Reps for the developers gave this statement to Town & Village:
“We have been a part of the Lower East Side community for decades,” the statement read. “Very early in this BSA process, we met extensively with the community, heard their issues and in some instances made changes based on their comments and recommendations. We look forward to the BSA hearing and the opportunity to be heard on the merits of our application and remaining a part of this community for many decades to come.”
The Peter Stuyvesant Post Office, which had operated since 1953, shut down in February 2014. (Berenson has been the longtime landlord at the address.) The USPS is currently leasing the former Duane Reade at 333 E. 14th St. for retail services.
DNAinfo has a report from the meeting here. The developer's reps will be returning to the BSA to answer more questions on March 22. The BSA did not vote on the variance.
Previously on EV Grieve:
Former Peter Stuyvesant Post Office slated to be demolished
The former Peter Stuyvesant Post Office will yield to an 8-story residential building
New residential building at former 14th Street PO will feature a quiet lounge, private dining room
A look at the new building coming to the former Peter Stuyvesant Post Office property
Report: CB3 wants alternatives for a larger 438 E. 14th St.